Romney in Command as Obama Got “Anesthetized” – Two Op-Eds You Won’t Want to Miss

Photo: AFP / Getty Images

If you love the art of language as I do, you will enjoy the prose I ran across today by two authors describing Messrs. Romney and Obama. Their ability to paint with words fascinates me. To keep this piece relatively brief, the chosen excerpts here will be slightly out of the context of each op-ed necessarily, but the firehose amount of post-debate spin we have all had these past 24 hours will allow you to get the point (each full article is excellent). The first article is by Daniel Henninger in his piece, The Romney Reboot Arrives

[...]
It would be asking too much for anyone to believe that the Romney campaign planned to spend two years saying very little about the substance of public policy as a ruse to anesthetize Barack Obama on debate night, but that is clearly what happened.

Gov. Romney came to the debate prepared to press Mr. Obama in detail about the president’s record, to defend the substance of his own proposals and even draw sharp philosophical distinctions with Mr. Obama. We’re happy to tip a hat to his pre-debate sparring partner, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, but this level of competence and detail wasn’t acquired in the past 10 days.
[...]
Barack Obama showed the dangers and risks of presidential incumbency. For all the powers of the office, the U.S. presidency inevitably causes the person holding it to place outsized belief and faith in the correctness of his own policies and ideas. In a word, hubris. It has happened before.

Barack Obama, perhaps the most self-confident person to occupy that office in our lifetime, was always skating along the edge of a cliff of self-destructive arrogance. No other president would have thought to berate the members of the Supreme Court as they sat in front of him during his State of the Union speech. The famous George Washington University speech in which he ridiculed his Republican partners in the deficit-negotiation talks, who had come to the speech expecting to hear a policy response, was another sign of potential danger.

And finally there was the report a few weeks ago that Mr. Obama did not respect Gov. Romney and did not consider him competent to be president.

Photo: Associated Press

This is a president, dismissive and condescending to any opposition, who went into that debate in Denver and essentially got his head handed to him by a better-prepared opponent.

What was especially damaging to Mr. Obama is that when it became clear early in the initial discussion of tax policy that Mitt Romney was going to take his argument to a deeper level, the president’s response was essentially to start cutting and pasting stock lines from speeches he’s been giving for years. After awhile, he looked like a guy who was rummaging through a drawer for old audio cassettes.
[...]
Not least, Mr. Romney has finally found his way to a workable defense of his Massachusetts health-care plan, emphasizing that whatever its merits, it was a major legislation that was passed on a bipartisan basis. Mr. Obama was left muttering that the Washington GOP should have taken cues from Massachusetts.
[...]
Mitt Romney may not have won the election in the first debate, but he established a new baseline.
[...]
Will it last? It would be passing strange, even a little weird, if Mr. Romney reverted to a candidacy skimming along the surface of issues and arguments. He can go deep. He should keep doing it. Besides as he said minutes into the debate, “It’s fun, isn’t it?” It is. Give the voters more of it.

[emphasis added]

The second op-ed is by the conservative speechwriter we love to hate and love…Peggy Noonan. I love to read her words. She has an amazing way of being both succinct and colorfully descriptive! Her WSJ piece Romney Deflates The President is art (I recommend the entire piece):

Out on a limb, where the breeze is best:

The impact of the first debate is going to be bigger than we know. It’s going to affect thinking more than we know, and it’s going to start showing up in the polls, including in the battlegrounds, more dramatically than we guess.

It wasn’t just Mitt Romney’s strong performance. It was President Obama’s amazingly weak one. He’s never been punctured before. But by debate’s end Wednesday night, if you opened the window this is what you could hear: Ssssssss. The soft hiss of air departing from a balloon.

And—amazingly again—he did it to himself. He didn’t fight, he didn’t show, he wasn’t awake and hungry. He just said the same-old-same-old and let it go. He couldn’t even meet Mr. Romney’s gaze, never mind his arguments.

Is all this dispositive? Has it changed everything? No.

Balloons can get patched. Opportunities can be squandered. Luck can turn.

But this whole race is on the move again, it’s in play again, and it’s going to get fun.

But it’s going to get hot, too. And probably dirty.


***
America got its first, sustained look at the good and competent Mr. Romney. And it really was a first. He wasted his convention but showed up for his debate, and an estimated 58 million people were watching. Many of them were taking his measure for the first time. What did they see? He was confident, gracious, in command of the facts. He looked like a president, acted like one. He was easily the incumbent’s equal and maybe more than that, so he became for the first time a real alternative to the incumbent, a living one, not just a name on a ballot.

He has been painted as Richie Rich, a too-tightly-wound reject from the Republican Animatronic Presidential Candidate Factory. But again, that’s not who he was. He was a normal, smart adult, and he knew things both about America and about public policy. He’s supposed to be extreme, but he was not in the least extreme. He spent his time talking not just to Republicans or conservatives but to the American people, a huge and varied lot. He reminded many of them of something they’d perhaps forgotten along the way: We don’t like the Obama economy! We don’t like ObamaCare! We don’t like not having jobs! Nothing personal, but this didn’t work!

Forced by time constraints to be clear and concise in his statements, he was both. Here we must stop and note: The way Mr. Romney spoke in the debate was the real Romney. The faux-flowery “prairie fire of debt” one we hear on the stump is the not-real Romney. He flowers himself up on the stump because he thinks it makes him sound better. It doesn’t. The real Romney is the one who can communicate. He’s straight and direct and not fancy, forgivably jargony, but worried about America and sincere. That’s the Romney who showed up for the debate. Stay that guy!

***
All the books being written about the 2012 race will tell us the background and circumstances of Mr. Obama’s surprising and deeply unimpressive performance. For now what can be said is this is how journalists described it in real time: passive, listless, effete, detached, flaccid, dull-brained, disengaged, professorial. The last is unjust. Professors are often interesting. When Mr. Romney gave him the sweet-faced “You’re a cute little shrimp” look, and he gave it to him all night, Mr. Obama couldn’t even look at him. When Mr. Obama stared down and nodded at his notes it looked, as someone observed in an email, like his impersonation of a bored wife. Everything he said—everything—was something you’d heard too many times. Mr. Romney gave the president some openings. The president didn’t take them. Why? It crossed my mind he was playing possum. But possums wake up at some point.

Mr. Obama’s likability numbers are about to go down. It’s going to be a reverse Sally Field: You don’t like me, you really don’t like me.

Jim Lehrer has been criticized as an inadequate moderator. He was old-school and a pro. He didn’t think it was about him. How quaint. He asked questions, allowed a certain amount of leeway to both candidates, which allowed each to reveal himself, and kept things moving. Most of the criticism seems to have come from those who hoped Mr. Obama would emerge triumphant. Mr. Lehrer should not take it personally. Every shot at him was actually a warning shot aimed at the next moderator, Martha Raddatz. She’s being told certain outcomes are desirable.

***
The next Obama-Romney debate will be different. The same Obama will not show up. He’s been embarrassed. He’ll bring his LeBron. He’ll be tough, competitive, and he’ll go at Mr. Romney professionally and personally: “We know you love cars, you’ve even got an elevator for them!” This is where Sen. Rob Portman, in future debate prep, has to go. He has to play a newly energized and focused Chicago pol. But then he knows that.

To read her points of advice, 1 to 5, click here >>>> Advice to the Romney campaign:

6. As things tighten up, they will probably get dirty. It is a matter of conviction in both parties that the other side is more ruthless and brutal in its use of underhanded tactics. Both campaigns have probably been sitting on potentially damaging opposition research. Why? Because they don’t want to win that way. Political operatives say they hate oppo because they hate to lower the tone of the national discourse. The truth is, oppo is bad for business. The press goes into full Lascivious Puritan mode, spreads the dirt and then tries to nail the provider. When everyone knows a strategist won dirty, he becomes controversial, future clients shy away, and the mortgage on the house in Umbria goes unpaid. But losing is even worse for business.

Chicago won’t go quietly. Be ready for trouble and able of rapid response.

[emphasis added]


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About Victor Lundquist:

Victor is a businessman working in the healthcare industry. He and his wife of 33 years have five children and four grandchildren. Vic has been blogging for Mitt Romney since 2007.
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23 Responses to Romney in Command as Obama Got “Anesthetized” – Two Op-Eds You Won’t Want to Miss

  1. Eric says:

    People are starting to see and realize what has been apparent all this time.
    That is, that Romney actually cares about this untry.
    Obama only cares about being ‘top-dog’, and his lack of competence and sincerity are showing.

  2. Cathy says:

    Obama simply is not in the same league at Mitt Romney. Obama was exposed for the pretender he is, confronted by a man who outsmarted him on every issue. Obama cannot “learn” what Mitt knows. You have to LOVE America and its people to speak from the heart with passion and humility. And Mitt does. We all can feel it.

  3. Leslie says:

    Vic, thanks for showing these pieces. I enjoyed the “you’re a cute shrimp” line…. So true, words make this all the more fun!

  4. James says:

    Okay I bit my lip and read Peggy, “He’ll bring is Lebron” ?

    It won’t happen again.

  5. AfricanforRomney says:

    This Prez is overrated. He’s empty suit. They can’t stop Romney/Ryan rocket now. We all Fired Up!
    I’m a loyal reader Noonan’s column, but lately she’s pissing me off. I guess, after she watched the empty suit Prez performance and she suffered Reagan nostaligic.

    Let’s keep the momentum going!
    Romney/Ryan=Saving the soul of America!!

  6. Annette S says:

    I appreciate Peggy Noonan writing this very artful piece, but she has made a lot of people angry due the criticism and uncertainty she has expressed towards Romney. Now that Romney did well in his first debate she’s finally writing something positive.

    I hear other Republican doubters say…..finally Romney is showing some fire and enthusiasm. Really? He’s always shown fire and enthusiasm!

    Putting that aside, I am just glad the base is fired up and the doubters are excited. My husband who was for Newt Gingrich is now excited about Romney for the first time since seeing him in his first debate. He believes he’ll take the next two. So do I!

    Romney/Ryan…..2012!!

  7. Roy says:

    I’m very amused by the new found enthusiasm. Romney has ONE good day in three months and everybody gets all worked up. It like being behind in the Super Bowl 49-0 late in the fourth quarter and Romney kicks a filed goal to make it 49-3 and Team Romney is going around high fiving everyone like it really means anything.
    Romney is getting a small bounce from this week. However, let’s keep this in perspective. He’s still a deep, deep underdog. Intrade now has him UP to a 34 percent chance of winning and they are putting the odds of Obama winning at least 290 electoral votes at 65%. The reality is that there is a very narrow path to victory for Romney and he would have to ride the current wave and more from now to November 6 to even make this interesting. I would be interested to see an analysis of how you realistically think Romney gets to 270. Last night even Frank Luntz said he thought that the president will be re-elected.
    It’s nice to see the enthusiasm from the Romney camp, but a sober assessment of the situation is still pretty grim for them.

  8. AfricanforRomney says:

    Roy,
    After Gov Romney’s superb debate performance, i think we’ve a bigger chance even winning CA the new Greece State. What the debate does for Gov Romney is that not only it fired up his base, but also EXPOSED Obama’s weakness big time.
    I’m glad People got a chance to see, listen Gov Romney’s side of story instead of just watching 2 minute charcter assasination, distortion, false ads.

    Nov 6, we’ll have exodus moment to Romney/Ryan ballot box!
    p.s why you care and concern so much for Gov Romney defeat, then? You seem already have Obama’s 2nd term cabinets in mind. You show so much interest for Gov Romney. Don’t understand your point!

  9. Joan C. says:

    The problem has been that Romney has had all of the media bias to fight. The difference in the two men is that Romney’s business experience overwhelms a man with no business experience what so ever. He seldom gets to the White House to work. I think that he does not know what to do. Romney will change that. Obama is like a child compared to Romney when it comes to America’s problems. We have never elected a man with so little experience. Even as a senator he did not vote most of the time. When he did he voted present. He is lazy and spends his time entertaining himself, just like a teenager would.

  10. Roy says:

    How did you like the jobs report yesterday? Were you wearing black armbands like Hannity and the others who are cheering against America?

    Oh, I forgot. The numbers were cooked by the Al Capone mob in Chicago, right. Even Crazy Jack Welch now admits that he has NO evidence. Do these people have any clue as to how the government derives these numbers?

    Oh and what about the Dow yesterday. Highest in five years. Is that a conspiracy too??

    But we don’t want to concern ourselves with good news for America, do we?

  11. Roy says:

    Joan C,
    Romney has to overcome media bias?
    Really? He has his own network spouting his virtues 24/7 ( of course no independents are watching) And he has the Wall Street Journal and the rest of Rupert’s rags around the country and world strongly in his corner.
    And you have every AM radio station in America loving him and hating the President.
    Maybe you’d better rethink your talking point and do like Romney did on Wednesday and do a 180 on your position.

    And Cathy,
    Glad to see you’re alive and well and have surfaced on this stream. I guess you could’t come up with ONE fact from the debate. I’ll give you one. “Mr.President and Michelle, congratulations on your 20th wedding anniversary.” After that, it goes downhill dramatically. So, in the final anaysis, Romney won on style and lost on substance, but of course we don’t believe those nasty fact check sites, do we?

  12. Annette S says:

    Roy….

    I’ll tell you a number that went up. It is put out by the US Dept. of Labor. It is a Business Survey that is considered the real unemployment numbers. 23.2 million are looking for work or underemployed. Of course many who are underemployed are looking for work because they can’t make ends meet. 1.) 12.1 million are unemployed 2) 2.5 million have stopped looking. 3) 8.6 million are underemployed.

    We know how many have stopped looking, because the size of the work force is shrinking. We have 63.3% of work force participation. This is the lowest number since Jimmy Carter. There are 8 million less people in the work force.

    Only 114,000 new jobs have been created this month which does not keep up with population growth. The number of new jobs have been decreasing. There have been fewer jobs created in 2012 than 2011. It’s a jobless recovery.

    The only reason unemployment is at 7.8% is because the national work force has shrunk. People have given up and dropped out of the work force. Unemployment is also being concealed by the 3 to 4 million people who have been added to Social Security Disability Insurance program since Obama took office. The Business Survey puts unemployment at 14.6%.

    Roy….Here is a question for you…..How is Obama going to cut the deficit and what is his economic plan besides raising taxes on the rich??

  13. AfricanforRomney says:

    Roy is such dissillusioned soul. Ysour argument is so weak. Are you comapring one fox news/wsj against the entire American news outlets? Don’t be blineded by your ingnorance. The problem with you and Odummers is that you want to beleive what you want to beleive. Romney won style not substance? You need a fact ck org for your own BS.

    Btw, Jack Welch is not a crazy men. If it is not about Mr Welch, Christ Matthew, the entire network won’t exist by now. Welch also stated that he predicted 7.9% the day before the govt #s released. Even many economists including the phony ones are not celebrating with this numbers except narcissist Prez Obama.

    We all want the economy to get better regardless your poltical position, i wish the number is even much lower. The reality is we pay close to $5 gas per/g, the grocery bills are sky rocketing, wages are stagnant , millions still struggling. I don’t see any evdience that the economy is better. Do you think you pay $5 per/ga for gas and part time jobs cover your living expenses? I don’t think so! Unless you’re living under some type of govt assistant.

    P.s STOP stalking visitors. If you don’t like what they post, you can debate, argue. If they ignore you you don’t have to follow them throwing your tantrums.
    Stalking is not COOL!

    Gov Romney=Job Creators!

  14. Joan C. says:

    What i have noticed in the last week. Since Chavez has spoken out for Obama. They sound exactly alike. Their promises are the same. The sad part is that the debt, for the size of the countries are also similar. Face it Obama is a Socialist and it does not work. Check out Spain and Greece. Countries cannot survive if all they worry about is give-away programs, in order to get elected. You may not like him, but Mitt is our only hope.

  15. Joan C. says:

    Romney may have Fox and some radio, but Obama has ABC,CBS, NBC,MSNBC and CNN, how can you fight that? the fact check sites are probable controlled by the Dem’s also. They are way ahead with the internet. They also have the unions and Move on .Org, which is a liberal, socialist leaning group. How do you explain the communist leaning Czars in his administration? Van Jones, who resigned, was in charge of the EPA. The best way to control a government is Healthcare and the EPA. That is in the official communist handbook on how to take over a government. George Soros, is the key. He just gave Obama millions of dollars. The man is a socialist who has taken down four countries already. He is Obama’s biggest supporter. His closest adviser, Valarie J. is also a socialist/communist. By the way, just what will he do for Russia after the election as he promised the Russian in a whisper, accidentally caught on camera. Wake up people we are under attack. Our way of life is threatened. Mitt is our only hope.

  16. Annette S says:

    The only economic plan or debt reducing plan that I hear about is Obama’s redistribution policy of raising taxes on the so called rich. Rich to Obama is $200K a year which is not wealthy. But it won’t work because taxes from the rich will only pay for about 11 days of government spending. If we start down this road, this tax plan will eventually trickle down to the middle class and the poor. As Romney says…it’s the wrong course for this country…we need to grow our economy to increase taxable revenue to the government.

    Obama needs to CUT spending, but he never talks about it.

    Roy……What is Obama going to do to CUT the deficit besides taxing the so called rich??

    (Maybe Roy doesn’t know, that’s why he hasn’t responded.)

  17. AfricanforRomney says:

    Annette S, LOL! You don’t hear Obama’s records or his future plan if he has any at all from Roy except attacking Gov Romney’s plans.

  18. Victor Lundquist says:

    Great comments here!

    Joan and Annette, thank you for your contributions of specifics and research.

  19. Roy says:

    Get in your shots while you can! I’ll respond when time permits.

  20. Roy says:

    Greetings,
    Continued intelligent conversation from Annette. Joan and African- not so much.
    Annette, I know you are a serious person. Regarding the President’s plan to reduce the deficit, his plan calls for a $4T reduction over 10 years, The plan called for $2.5 in spending cuts for every $1 of increased revenue. Domestic spending will be at the lowest percentage in 50 years. Now, you’re not going to get this information by listening to the noise coming from the Romney camp or Fox News.
    Romney on the other plan apparently thinks he can balance the budget and pay down the debt with spending cuts alone- spending cuts he won’t disclose. The Ryan plan is even worse and that’s why the’re running away from his plan. Unfortunately, he has a record of votes in Congress along with his disastrous budget plan that has Republican Senate and House candidates disavowing, lest they get tagged with it. Let’s see how he can defend his positions Thursday night during his first national debate. He has never been in a statewide debate. That deer in the headlight look is sure going to get worse when he tries to explain his votes with Akin and his failure to vote against one penny of the Bush spending spree. Fiscal conservative he is NOT.
    Romney’s debt reduction plan does not have support among any credible economist and this is more “Voo-doo economics.” Look at who is saying this is a credible plan. It’s just not serious. If you disagree with this point, please tell me which source feels he has a credible plan. I haven’t seen one yet but I’ll be happy to look further if you can favor me with your favorite source.

  21. Roy says:

    Oh, and Victor is apparently still confused at the difference between a fact and an opinion.

  22. AfricanforRomney says:

    I heard this piece on the radio Friday.
    “……But $1 trillion of the president’s proposed cuts would come from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, something he planned to do anyway. And while letting the top Bush-era tax cuts expire could boost revenues by $1 trillion, there’s still a shortfall, says Robert Bixby, head of The Concord Coalition, a budget watchdog group.”

    Robert Bixby were critical of Gov Romney’s plan too. We may learn soon the defense increase proposal specific, however, In my opinion, as much as i want strong defense, strong military i’m not in favor of the military industrial complex rule the world.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/05/162323571/romney-obama-far-apart-on-closing-budget-gap

  23. Was good having you Roy. See ya.